Authors: K.A. Hobbs
To Mend a Broken Heart
Copyright (c) 2015 KA Hobbs
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including but not limited to: photocopying, recording or other electronical or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non commercial uses permitted by law.
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This is a work of fiction.
Any resemblance to persons either living or deceased is purely coincidental.
Names, places and characters are figments of the author’s imagination, or if real, used in a fictitious sense.
The author recognises all the trademarks and copyrights of any registered products and/ or companies mentioned within this work of fiction.
All rights reserved.
As always, I have some very special people to thank. These are the people who keep me going while I write, who make it possible and who inspire me probably without even realising it.
- When I was worried about the story you listened. When I finished you read it and listened to me go on and on about how in love with this story I was. You’re just the best, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve needed you and you’re always there regardless of what is going on in your life. You really do know me better than I know myself and I’m so lucky you’re my best friend. I love and adore you so much.
- I treasure you. I really do. I wish we weren’t so far away from each other, one day we’ll get to meet and I’ll squish you so hard!
Laura - Daniel made it on to your list of favourite books of all time, major wow moment for me. Thank you for all your support and kindness! Roll on next year so I can squish you!
- Daniel put you in the biggest book funk I’ve ever known. I’m not going to apologise, because it made me so happy that I had created a character and story that could do that. Love ya chica! I’m going to venture north and squish you soon!
Lily - Daniel belongs to you, he may have been created in my heart and mind but he lives in yours. Thank you for everything, for helping me when I was worried about the story, for being honest with me, for encouraging my Cinderella obsession and most importantly for being such an inspiration and an incredible friend.
My big sister Steph
- You were the only person to know about me writing for a long time, it was scary then, it’s still scary now. Thank you for encouraging me and telling me I could do it! Here it is…
book, I hope you love it as much the second time round!
- Thank you for encouraging me. For listening to me talk about Daniel and Katie while I was writing and since I’ve finished. Thank you for taking me away to Scotland that week and letting me sit and finish them. It was an incredibly special moment and you helped me get there. I hope you realise how very much I love you. As each year passes, I love you more. I couldn’t do any of this without you.
- Your support, your messages, your enthusiasm for the stories I create fuels my days. It makes me smile and fills my heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- For an indie author, the support from blogs means so very much. There are a few I’d like to thank, who have been there for me since the very beginning;
2 Girls, a Book and a Glass of Wine, Hopelessly Devoted 2 Books, Reading the Sheets and Passionate Page Turner
These are just a few who have been so supportive of me and who I adore - Ladies, you absolutely rock!
A little note from KA Hobbs
Writing Daniel and Katie was exciting. It was a whole new story, new characters and the story came to me while I was right in the middle of writing
The Connected Series
. I feel like, with this story, I opened up a whole new side to my writing, I feel like it challenged me in fabulous ways and I am so proud of the end result.
When characters climb into your heart and take root, they stay there forever. Daniel and Katie have definitely done that. I hope you love Daniel and Katie as much as I do, they are incredibly special to me - I hope you enjoy their journey.
For Lily AKA The Flash -
I don’t think you realise how fabulous you are, you astound me with your strength and courage, I’m in awe of you every single day. Your support, your encouragement and your messages that make me grin at my screen like an idiot mean so much. I treasure our friendship and you. I asked for an honest opinion and I got it.
Thank you for loving and understanding Daniel.
He belongs to you, your #PerfectPrince.
Our soulmate is the one who makes
- Richard Bach
I feel numb. There is nothing anyone can say or do to make me feel anything. Ginny tells me I am still in shock, that it all happened so fast, the tears and my grief will come when they are ready and not before.
I don’t believe her.
There is a reason I can’t feel anything, but it isn’t grief. The reason is because I am dead. Not physically, or in any of the traditional sense of the word, but Richard is gone, he was the other half of me and now? Now, I am missing half of myself. The reason I can’t feel anything is because you can’t possibly feel when your heart has been taken, when you are so broken there isn’t a whole piece of you left. I am sitting in the same chair I have been in for the last forty-five minutes. Watching people as they talk to each other. Dabbing at their eyes, speaking in hushed voices, looking over at me with looks of sympathy. I don’t want their sympathy. They are offering their condolences for my loss, when they should be offering me them because I'm still here. Alive
When I should have been buried along with Richard ninety minutes earlier.
“Katie, sweetheart. Will you have something to eat?” Ginny's voice snaps me out of my thoughts and I look up and into the face of my best friend.
“I don't need anything.” I mumble, looking over at our old next door neighbour Mrs Lynes who is watching me with sad eyes.
“You haven't eaten anything but a handful of wine gums since yesterday lunchtime.” Ginny kneels down and runs her hand comfortingly over my hand. I look down at her and she smiles a little at me.
“Wine gums were his favourite,” I whisper, “The red ones especially. He would save them till the end and eat them like they were rare treats." I smile in spite of my sadness.
“I remember one year, I bought twenty-three packets, took out all of the red ones and placed them in one of those kiln jars,” I look at Ginny and she is crying, “I made a little tag that said;
Roses are red. Violets are blue. These sweets are your favourite. They are just for you. With each sweet that you eat, just know this one thing. Your love and your kindness make me feel complete. I don't need a mansion, I don't need a ring, I just need you here beside me, please give me this one thing
. Attached to the label was a key to my flat.”
I close my eyes and picture his face. So breathtakingly beautiful and carefree. He had scooped me up and carried me to the sofa where he kissed me and told me I had him. The mansion he couldn't do, but the ring he could, and there, right in the middle of my front room, he pulled out a ring and proposed.
“Do you want a red wine gum then?” Ginny whispers to me.
“No. There are no more red wine gums, Ginny. There will never be any red wine gums now he's gone.”
Is it morning again?
How did that happen so quickly? I throw back the duvet and slip my feet out of bed. When they come to rest on the cold hardwood floor I wince. I was definitely getting carpet put back into the bedroom. Whose stupid idea was it to get wood floor?
I flop back onto the bed at the thought of him. He wanted it because it made the room feel fresh, which it did when he was alive now he was gone, the room just feels cold.
When will the pain go away?
It has been three months since he died and I’m still not able to get out of bed and function like a normal person. Every night I go to sleep and pray that tomorrow will be the day everything will get easier and every morning I wake up and realise it isn’t. Three months of missing him. Three months of crying over him. Three months of playing
over and over. That one song that I told Ginny brings me comfort. It doesn’t it just makes the tears fall and I hope with each tear that falls, my grief will get less. So far it hasn’t. I keep asking the same question over and over and over again. The same question no one seems to know the answer to.
Not able to ignore the persistent ache from my bladder anymore, I get up out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom. I look and feel like an old lady right now, the physical pain I have from the sheer volume of grief I carry around with me, causing me to fold in on myself, making every step I take a challenge. I really do look like an old lady and thanks to my lack of showering the last three days, I probably smell like one too. I avoid the mirror as I step into the bathroom, I am only guessing what I look like, I don’t need or want it confirmed. When I’ve finished going to the loo, I wash my hands with my eyes closed so I don’t accidentally catch a glimpse of myself then turn the shower on. The bathroom fills up with steam as I wait. Trying to find the strength to step in to the water I take a deep breath then strip out of my pyjamas and into the shower. When I’m under the spray I turn my face up to the water and let out the breath I didn’t realise I was holding.
This shower really is too big for one person. Everything in the house is too big for one person. The sofa, the kitchen, the bed.
Especially the bed.
I think I could fit another twelve people in the bed and not touch a single one of them.
Why did the bed have to be so bloody big?
Because Richard liked space. He liked to be able to stretch out his long limbs without feeling restricted, that’s why. Like always, the minute his name pops into my head, my knees buckle from under me, unable to hold me up anymore.
I stay, sitting on the floor of the shower while the hot water pours down over me, crying like a baby. By the time I get out of the shower, I can’t see a thing there is so much steam. I smell cleaner, I feel cleaner, but I hurt just as much as I did when I started. Shuffling back to the bedroom I sit on the bed and towel dry my hair a little. I’m not going anywhere so there is no need to blow dry it and straighten it like I normally would.
I haven’t bothered with those things since the funeral three months ago, I’m not sure I can say
like I normally would
any more. I lift my head at the sound of the landline ringing. It will be Ginny, phoning, like she always does before work to check on me, and the conversation will go exactly the way it always goes. I reach over and answer the phone.
“Morning, sweetie. How are you today?”
“I’m showered.” I tell her.
“Well, that’s better than yesterday. And the day before that…
and the day before that
, Mrs Stinky,” she tries to joke, “What are you going to eat today?”
“Whatever I find downstairs.” my voice has no emotion in it at all.
“And that is?”
“I really don’t know. Soup?” I haven’t looked in my cupboards for weeks. I have found that I can survive on wine gums and crackers perfectly well. Well, maybe not
well, but I am surviving just about.
“That’s what I thought. I’ve ordered you some food, the delivery is between ten and eleven this morning. All you need to do is open the door and bring it in, okay? I’m not working today, so I should be there in time, I’ve just got to drop Aidan to nursery first.”
“Ginny, you don’t need to buy me food. I have food.”
“Katie, you don’t even have soup in the house. You don’t have bread or milk or butter or cheese. All you have is one packet of crackers and a wholesale box of wine gums. You can’t survive on that. I’ll be there as soon as I can. Listen out for the door in case I’m not there, okay?”
“Okay.. I’ll see you later. Please try and be dressed when I get there.”
I roll my eyes and flop back onto the bed. She makes it sound like I am never dressed when she comes round. It was only those
times she found me curled up in a ball, naked and shivering on my bed after taking a shower.
“I’ll have clothes on.”
“Right. I’ll see you soon.” she blows me a kiss down the phone then hangs up.
I chuck the phone onto the bed and cover my face with my hand. Best friends are a pain in the arse sometimes. Ginny keeps telling me, it is her duty as my best friend to make sure I am okay, that I eat something each day and shower at least twice a week. I think, as my best friend, it is her duty to leave me alone to mourn the death of my husband, but what do I know? I am just the grieving widow after all.
I drag myself up and over to the wardrobe that houses my clothes. I’ve never been so glad of his and hers wardrobes in my life. Richard’s wardrobes have remained closed since the day of the accident, and I don’t plan to open them anytime soon. I root through and find myself a pair of clean knickers and a pair of thick socks. I pull out a pair of leggings and an oversized grey jumper and camisole. Getting dressed is an achievement in itself, taking pride in what I wear is a step too far and unlikely to happen any time soon.
Five minutes later, I am dressed and heading downstairs. I really am considering one of those stair lift things, it hurts to walk, but it almost kills me to climb the stairs. When I get to the bottom, I see a pile of post. I guess I went back to bed earlier than I thought yesterday. I bend down and pick it up, chucking it onto the pile already overflowing the little table we have in the hallway. The house is dark, but still not as dark as I feel. I leave the blinds and curtains closed and head into the lounge, switching on the TV for some background noise. I don’t know what is on but I stare at the TV anyway. From the looks of it, it is some kind of home renovation program. I jump when I hear Ginny’s voice coming from the front door.
“Katie?” she calls.
“Here.” I try to call back, but my voice comes out like a whisper.
“Why are all the curtains shut? You would never know it was June in here!”
I hear her walking towards the lounge, then she appears. Dressed in a floaty pink skirt and white t-shirt, she marches over to the big windows and throws open the curtains, then twists open the blinds. Light streams in and I cover my eyes.
“Do you mind?” I growl a little.
“No I don’t. You’re becoming a vampire, Katie. You need light, your skin looks awful.” she tells me looking at me.
“Thank you. I think that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
“I’m not here to be
, I’m here to help you get better.”
“I’m not sick.”
“No, you’re grieving, and you’ve been grieving for the last three months. When was the last time you actually set foot outside the house, Kate?” she sits next to me and leans back.
“I don’t remember.” I whisper.
“Exactly. It’s been so long, even
can’t remember. And I remember everything.”
“There’s nothing for me out there.”
“There’s nothing for you in here either.”
“Thanks for reminding me.”
“Kate, you need to get out, you need to start piecing your life back together, Richard wouldn’t have wanted you to be like this.”
“How do you actually know that?” I yell, “Did you two talk about what I should be like when he died and left me behind? Did you?”
“No. I just mean—”
“I know what you mean. You think I should be over this by now, that three months of wallowing and mourning my dead husband is enough. But do you know what? I don’t
I planned on having a whole lifetime
with him, Ginny, I planned on starting a family with him, growing old
with him. So three months doesn’t seem even slightly long enough to me.”
I burst into angry tears and fall onto my best friend. My best friend who is only trying to help me, I know that. My best friend who I just shouted at.
“I didn’t mean you had to stop missing him, stop wishing he was still here. I just mean—”
“I k-k-now what y-y-ou mean.” I sob.
I am so tired of crying, of aching everywhere because I miss him so much.
This has to get easier, doesn’t it?
“It breaks my heart to see you like this, sweetie, it really does. I can’t do anything to make it better.” Ginny soothes me, running her hand up and down my back. I just cry. There aren’t enough words in the world to express the sadness I feel, so I don’t even try.